Mendota High’s perfect prep football season was ended by three quarters of futility.
The Aztecs saw a late comeback fall short, losing 21-14 to Amador-Sutter Creek in the CIF Northern California Regional Division 6-AA Bowl on Friday in a game played at Calaveras High in San Andreas.
Mendota had gone 13-0 en route to West Sierra League and Central Section Division V titles and its first shot at a state championship.
Amador (15-1), picked to finish third in its own league in a preseason prediction by The Modesto Bee, has lost only to league rival Sonora, which played Hanford in last year’s Division 4-AA state regional.
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“Our kids are loving every minute of it, and for me personally there’s a tremendous satisfaction, to be honest with you,” Amador coach Bill Baker was quoted by The Modesto Bee. “We’ll get a time to celebrate that a little later maybe, but for right now, hey, I’m just proud to be where I’m at; proud of my team and proud of my community.”
Mendota fell behind 21-0 with 5:21 left in the fourth quarter before scoring twice in a 1:12 span to make a game of it. The Aztecs got the ball back with 8 seconds remaining but were unable to come up with a miraculous ending.
“We were going against a high-powered offense,” Buffaloes junior linebacker Brandon Wright said. “We knew we had to come in and make big stops tonight. We did that.”
Mendota entered averaging 43.2 points per game and was coming off a 50-22 victory over WSL rival Firebaugh in the section final.
But the Buffaloes held the Aztecs off the scoreboard until 3:30 remained in the fourth quarter. Mikey Medina scored on a 2-yard run and Junior Cardenas passed 5 yards to Julian Cardenas for the other Mendota touchdown.
After a missed Mendota field-goal attempt to open the game, Daylan Thetford broke loose for a 74-yard touchdown.
Amador made it 14-0 in the second on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Anthony Burns to Tyler McCoey, and extended the lead to 21-0 in the fourth quarter on Thetford’s 1-yard run.
Amador advances to the CIF State Division 6-AA championship at Rancho Christian-Temecula on Dec. 17. The Eagles (14-2) beat Franklin-Los Angeles 56-21 in the South Regional.